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Knocked Up

just not as funny as I thought it would be
I just don't find people constantly screaming "f--- you!" (or at times, omitting the "you") very funny in itself. The characters' intensity was very draining, directed at each other, at those they loved, at perfect strangers, or at themselves. The characters had no obvious means of support, nor did they have any jobs or occupation, or family commitments. They seemed to caricature the oldest California stereotypes.

But to me, what was most discomforting was the anti-Muslim "banter" early in the film by the group of boys (men?) who had been clearly identified as being Jewish several times in the film. Maybe that was to give it a certain "edginess" that unrelenting sexual references no longer provide? Anyway, I found the movie to be unbelievable and tedious, and I waited out the last 10 minutes in the lobby.

Chavez: Inside the Coup

Not your usual documentary
Yes, the cameras were in the right place at the right time. It's so interesting to see how a world leader (like Chavez) who supports the poor people in his country, can be held in such low esteem in the US. His worst "sin", in my opinion, is caring about those who are at the bottom of the barrel. What can be so bad about that? I have always been fascinated by the US government+media reaction to Fidel Castro. At first, Castro was a good guy (around 1959) when he supplanted Batista. Soon, however, Castro started turning the corporations in Cuba toward the needs of the poor instead of the fat cats. We're a decent country, but why does our media and government have such a problem with sharing with the poor? If these guys are "dictators," then we could use more "dictatorships" especially where the poorest of the poor live in the world.

Armstrong Circle Theatre: The House of Flying Objects
Episode 2, Season 9

absolutely riveting drama
I was only 10 years old when this aired back in the 1950's but I recall it to the present day. (In fact, I think it aired on more than one occasion.) Perhaps because I lived in New York and was familiar with Long Island, this dramatization seemed so very real. The idea was simple: For some reason, objects in this house (in Seaford, New York?) flew around, statues dashed themselves to the ground, caps on a bottle of liquid unscrewed themselves, heavy objects crashed to the floor. Was it due to spirits, magnetic forces, or undetected earth tremors? Why this house and not the one next door? There were many questions, and the next day after it aired, I remember the kids in my school being totally abuzz about the show. My mom said it was totally made up; fake, and only the gullible thought it was real.... To this day, I don't know if it was fraudulent or authentic. What became of the "House of Flying Objects?" I do know that it unsettled me, and I remember it today, almost 50 years later!

Mad Hot Ballroom

Hard to find enough adjectives for "fabulous"!
At first, I told my wife I didn't want to go. I thought it was yet another movie of McDonalds generation 11-year-olds, snotty and attitudinal, populated with stupid, bumbling adults trying to please them. I was very, very wrong. It was one of the best movies I've seen in years. It had meaning, warmth, humor, pathos--you name it. It had real adults, and real kids. Real teachers who were not afraid to be clear, loud and firm with kids, but with a great deal of love for them--and vice-versa. Plus, it makes you fall in love with NYC. I want to see the film again, and I can't recommend it enough. Hey, it's appropriate for everyone, too. (By the way, look for the lady who played Oliver Warbucks' assistant Grace in the movie "Annie"--she's a real dancer and one of the judges at the end.) In sum: don't miss this magic film.

Depuis qu'Otar est parti...

Magnificent, enriching and worth your time
This was one of the best films I've ever seen. It was simply magnificent--human, and true in a way that modern films rarely display. The cinematography was skillful; the amount of time on a given scene varied, with the variety quite significant in terms of its meaning. (For instance, the cut to the "Conservation" (cemetery) was an example of this.) I will see this beautiful film again, and give it my highest recommendation. My hat is off in tribute to the director, producer, writer, and actors.

Utomlennye solntsem

Magnificent film
Beautiful film, full of humanity and honest in ways sometimes jarring, but always right on target. A westerner gets a sense of the depth of love for mother Russia, as well as the difficulty many faced during the 1930's Stalinist years. The film is a winner, and worth seeing more than once. The performance by the little girl is incredible; I was taken by her talent and smarts. One of the best films I've seen this year. Thumbs up. Two thumbs up.

Still We Believe: The Boston Red Sox Movie

unsatisfying and disappointing
I'm a baseball fan, have been one for over 40 years. This film had me looking forward to it, not because I'm a Red Sox or Yankees lover/hater, but because I really like baseball. This film was a huge disappointment, and it was so in the same way that baseball itself has disappointed as well. When I go to major league games (or try to watch them on tv), they are so filled with extraneous stuff, with fluff, with "People magazine" personality filler that it's hard for me to see the baseball in baseball. I mean the strategy, the moves, the subtleties, etc. I get my ears blown out in Minneapolis, my eyes assaulted by a constant-action huge center-field TV in Montreal. And this movie: It was mostly about the BoSox executives, owner, general manager. WHO CARES?? Not I. The clips of actual BoSox baseball from the great 2003 season were quick and fleeting, afterthoughts, really. In short, there was almost nothing about baseball in "Still, We Believe...." And that was disappointing.

Les invasions barbares

magic, warm, human, fantastic film
One marvelous film. I enjoyed it tremendously. It is enjoyable on so many levels, and along with the sadness, there were a lot of laughs. I would see this again, because it was worth it. With so many awful Hollywood flicks out there, once again a foreign film tells a compelling non-superficial tale. Go see it. Go see it, particularly if you haven't kissed your mom or dad recently. Then go and kiss him or her.

In America

Amazing. Warm. Funny. Real.
This is a masterpiece of capturing human feeling on film. Above all it is real--the joy and the pain people in loving families feel for each other, plus the burden that this entails is wonderfully woven in this film. Having been through something very similar to what this family experienced made me hang on every word, every look, every tear. Go see it. In America is beautiful, and so, so very powerful.

Cheaper by the Dozen

Stupider by the minute
Look. I like Steve Martin. I liked him in his early films, like The Jerk, and liked him later in All of Me and LA Story. True, I walked out of The Man with Two Brains, but I wanted to give Cheaper by the Dozen a fair shake. I read no reviews, and had really warm memories of reading the book in the 1950's. It (the book) was a funny, warm family story. This film, however, is similar only in that there are 12 kids. This film was horrible, boring, and seemed to get longer by the minute. The kids' expressions were uniformly: roll your eyes, and say the equivalent of "Like Doh" or "Whatever." They spoke a rapid-fire lingo of sports announcers, and--before I go on--I say save your money. I am embarrassed for Steve Martin. There must be other ways to make a quick buck than churning out stuff like this. Read the book--it's old, but it's much better.

The Station Agent

A film that grows on you
I was surprised at how engrossed I became in this film. The characters were superb; they were all magnificent pictures of loneliness. I would see the film again, and recommend it most highly. Thought-provoking, serious, yet also light and humorous, with a modicum of suspense. Congratulations to the writer, director, and mostly, the great actors.

Love Actually

interesting slant on politics here
Interesting movie, kind of cute, and funny at times. Most interesting to me was the angle of the US President vs. the Prime Minister...seemed like the director/writer wanted to make a point about US-British relations, by having the PM publicly lambaste the Prez...I wonder how this part of the movie "sat" with British viewers? Seems like most IMDB viewers totally missed commenting on this part of the movie. Any thoughts on it?

Mies vailla menneisyyttä

superb, warm, special and sweet
Having spent time working and living in Finland, I absolutely loved the film. Not only the visuals, the Helsinki waterfront, but moreso, the special warmth of Finnish culture and people. The way the men related to each other, for example, was amazingly clever in its capture (and parody) of male-male relationships. Man-woman was just was wonderful, with the long-suffering women and the helpless men (this is of course universal, not just Finnish, which makes the film fully human). The bank employee was fantastic; I saw "her" when I opened an account in a city north of Helsinki! No, it wasn't the stereotypes, but the rich cultural images that were NOT "Hollywooded" up or forced American fare. It's a real film, and I am glad I saw it. Kiitos!

Bowling for Columbine

Yes, there is much to attack in this film, yet Michael Moore has helped make a connection between poverty and violence in America better than any other filmmaker has ever done. Moore's film does suffer from excess here and there, and is overly-long, yet he does justice to a most urgent issue. Violence is something deep within US culture, and the current "remedy" of locking doors, security alarms, etc. only makes the problem worse.


Made for the 11-14 year old boy (some, at that)
My neighbor's son, aged 13, said I should see XXX because it was "awesome," with lots of cool parts. That should have been my warning. I went to see it, and while it wasn't the worst film I ever saw, I spent more time analyzing how perfectly it was designed for the 11-14 year old male movie-goer, especially boys fascinated with violence, explosions, weaponry, sadism, brutality, jingoism, ethnocentrism, etc. It had no complexity, requiring no thought at all. Few spoken sentences contained a multisyllabic word; few sentences were longer than four words. Most were grunted swears or flip come-backs. There were no complexities like emotions, except for simulated anger. Not my taste at all.


perhaps Mamet's worst film
When it is a struggle to get past the opening minutes of a film, you know there's trouble ahead. Not a violent person, I wanted to smack both characters. Yes, I realize Mamet's characters can do the machine-gun dialogue, but neither shut up long enough to allow the other to finish a sentence. I wound up disliking both characters intensely, so that it was hard to get into the requisite "us" vs. "them" gender head. Plus, it was unbelievable that a student or professor, not on heavy drugs, could/would act that way toward another in real life. Pity is that Macy is a fantastic actor. Mamet is still a fabulous writer. "Oleanna" is his turkey, however, in my opinion.

Dumb and Dumber

funny, mild gross out, but worth it
Just as I said: it's funny, mild-to-moderate gross out humor, but on the whole, a worthwhile comedy. I really admire Jim Carrey's rubber face; he is one gifted mugger. Jeff Daniels was excellent as well. They worked well together. Plus, these guys really took Curly Howard (of the 3 Stooges) and "ran with the ball."

She's So Lovely

terrible script poor movie
If it weren't for John Travolta or Sean Penn being in the movie, I would rate it a 1 out of 10. In other movies they were excellent actors, so I can only conclude that the script was to blame. There were many things I could point to, but worst was that it was hard to "lock in" on any actor/actress. Just when you were getting to know someone, switcheroo time. Save your rental money.

Everybody Rides the Carousel

Marvelous, unusual, rare
What a film. Done in watercolors, with great jazz music (by Dizzy Gillepsie, among others) this details the "ride of a lifetime," how people develop from birth to death. It's based on Erik Erikson's "8 Ages of Man" and is the type of film one doesn't see anymore, either in the western hemisphere or Europe...Lovely film, good for everyone. One more comment: It's a work of art. See it and see if I am exaggerating!

Ungfrúin góða og húsið

a warm, sad, odd film
In many ways this was quite a good film. Set in Iceland and Denmark, it shows the difficult lives of men and women in the fishing business, but also (as Laxness loved to write about) the dissolute lifestyle of the wealthy. Laxness won the Nobel Prize for Lit in 1955, yet he was hounded out of the US in the late 1920's, appalled by what he saw in New York City/America as the gap between the "haves" and "have-nots." In this film, Laxness portrays the shallowness of the haves' lives; worried more for appearances and images than human love and dignity. It makes me want to read more of Laxness's works. I recommend it, especially for people who like the "Hannah and her sisters" strong-women-surviving-against-impossible-odds theme. And/or those who can abide the portrayal of men as drunks, philanderers, lechers, buffoons, religious hypocrites, idiots, bribers, etc., all of whom are in this film. This latter extreme portrayal pattern was obvious, and thus a real drawback of the film.

Y tu mamá también

This one's tough to categorize
Refreshingly different, this film surprised me, and kept me interested. Yes, some of the devices were odd, and many hard-to-believe turns, especially what's revealed at the end about her, and about the two guys...In a way, the film was a tribute to adolescent male sexuality (no problem with that), and in that way, it was different from the films oriented toward women, yet the film didn't bypass the issue entirely. I wanted the film to do a better job of having the guys understand what she needed, instead of focusing (of course!) on what their needs were. But then again, if that happened, it would've been an entirely different flick. Nice filming, nice locations, endearing men and women acting, and some of the funniest verbal and nonverbal humor... Overall, I liked the film a lot. Don't bring children to see it.

Minority Report

awful film, great disappointment
I walked out after the first hour of this film. With the great reviews it had gotten (Ebert, et al), I was looking forward to it. Instead, I got a vehicle for Tom Cruise, who's an okay actor, except I don't dissolve merely at his looks. The movie quickly deteriorated into action-explosions-shooting-jetpacs-vomiting-punching-snot-strangling...you get the idea. This was followed by more dizzying "action." The basic premise of the film was fine, intriguing in fact. But what I saw was an action film made for lonely 11 year-old boys or Tom Cruise fans. As I left, I stopped at the popcorn counter, and the woman told me many people had also walked out. It's amazing how this film can be called "the best film of the year." By what measure? By the amount of money spent on its promotion? A big, big disappointment. Read the short story, instead.

La vie rêvée des anges

unassuming yet powerful
Film shows the friendship between two women, both struggling to find their identity in the world. One is terminally angry, the other, terminally accepting. You know things are going to end not well, but you stay for the whole show, because both of these women are excellent actresses. Recommended.

Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain

Fabulous film in every way
I loved this film...it excels in so many areas. It's very funny, very touching, very human, very weird, very sad, very very. When I see a film like this I wonder why Hollywood does not (or cannot) produce films of its quality ("Martha Fokker" indeed). I guess what was best about Amelie was that is was <real>; that what she did and felt was something all people could identify in themselves: her desire for justice, but not in the tired old legal way, but in a real, human way. Her desire for love, not simply for herself, but for others in the world, even for those who the world sees as misfits, or as somewhat undesirable in appearance or behaviour. I loved the film, my wife loved the film (an unusual agreement!), and we're going to see it again.


Bright spots but drags too much
Jon Voight is superb as Howard Cosell...absolutely terrific. The movie, overall, was worth seeing, and entertaining. It dragged too much; during the middle some scenes were far too drawn out. Also, it was amusing to see pay phones in the 1960's scenes that were far too modern...they had the 1980/1990 aluminum and electric blue casings...a little goof, I believe.

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